The University of Oregon School of Law recently discovered a problem impacting thousands of Oregonians: A lack of Spanish-speaking mediators. The solution was a homegrown training program to fill the mediation gap.
A mediator is a third party that helps those in dispute come up with agreeable resolutions without going through the courts.
In what may be the first program of its kind in the nation, the UO’s inaugural mediation training session was held for 20 Spanish-speakers last October.
The Office of Community Dispute Resolution, part of the UO law school, sponsored the training.
“When you’re able to really connect and support each party through being able to hear their language and hear their culturally interpretations, you’re able to help build trust in the process for a more durable agreement,” said dispute resolution office administrator Patrick Sponsler.
Sponsler said interest in the program is high — about 40 applicants had to be turned away from the first training due to lack of space. More sessions are planned for 2024.